My friend squinted, looking closely at her computer screen as we talked on Zoom. “Why,” she asked suspiciously, “does your hair look good?” Fair question. We’d been in shutdown in our state for three months and I hadn’t been to a hair salon in even longer. In truth, I had died my own hair and cut my own bangs, but it didn’t look THAT good.

No, this was a question of degrees. Nobody should look even presentable at this point, so if you manage to climb a degree or two on your own DIY dime, you’re an outlier and get points for effort.

I asked the same question a few days later when I Zoomed with a couple who both looked freshly coiffed. “Oh, I cut our hair” my friend replied. Of course, I thought, she designs and makes clothes, is uber talented and would have little hesitation taking a pair of shears to herself and her husband.

This is a COVID-19 question. Sure, in the past, I’ve been asked the “where” or “how” of a new haircut, but never “why?” That’s new.

COVID-19 has brought other new questions too. Inquiries like “When’s the last time you were out?” and “Do you know where I can get Clorox/Lysol/Purell?” and “Are you having trouble buying chicken?”

The questions are changing and so is our vocabulary. Before 2020, I never used the word “zoom” as a verb to describe anything I was doing. A cautious driver, it was not part of my nomenclature. Now, I don’t go a day without using that word.

What are some new questions or words creeping into your lexicon?